San Diego

San Diego Infectious Disease Expert Expects COVID-19 ‘Mini-Surge' After Spring Break

An infectious disease expert at UC San Diego said he expects a mini-surge of COVID-19 cases following spring break

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Spring break arrived right as San Diegans’ COVID-19 restrictions were eased into California’s red tier, but that doesn’t mean we should let down our guard.

Medical experts say the signs are all positive in the battle against the coronavirus, but the path to healthy living isn’t completely clear. More people are getting their vaccinations, but as people get out to celebrate spring they need to be mindful that COVID-19 is still out there.

 “I think that people who aren’t yet vaccinated should not be going into restaurants, should not be going into bars, should not be going to gyms, should not be going into indoor places with other people where masks come off, except for their own families,” said Dr. Robert Schooley, an infectious disease expert at UC San Diego.

Dr. Schooley warned that unvaccinated people can still transmit the disease and can still get sick. If fewer people get the coronavirus then fewer will be susceptible to the more dangerous variants that have been circulating. 

“We really need to have people who are not vaccinated just chill a bit and keep the viral transmission rates down,” Schooly said.

NBC 7 spoke to sunbathers at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas who were greeted by signs reminding them to continue wearing face coverings, stay home if sick, and keep a distance of at least 6 feet from people not in their families.

“I had anxiety for like a whole year already,” said Naree Forich, who left the beach with two of her children as it started to get crowded. “I felt I was at that point where, OK, we’re gonna be outside now, we’re gonna still keep or distance as much as possible, wear a mask and be smart about what we can do. So I’m just trying to make the best decisions for myself and everybody around me, too.”

Forich has already gotten her vaccination, so has Beverly Martinez, an educator visiting from Utah.

“I think we’re heeding safety precautions but it feels really good to have things so people can get back to their daily lives but take safety precautions, there has to be a balance,” said Martinez.

When asked what she would do if San Diego experienced a crush of spring breakers like the one in Miami that had to be broken up by police, she said, “I wouldn’t be a part of that.”

Dr. Schooly told NBC 7 he expects a “mini-surge” of COVID infections after spring break because many young people who haven’t been vaccinated are getting out with their peers.

“I think that travel and interplay among people who are at risk will drive the epidemic until we get everybody vaccinated.” 

Schooly said the increase in the availability of vaccines should mean it won’t be long before we can return to normal life.

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